Culture

WATCH: Hall of Clestrain Open Day

On 1st and 2nd of August the John Rae Society held an open day to explain the archaeology and history of the childhood home of Dr John Rae which they have been uncovering at The Hall of Clestrain.

The Orkney News was able to get a wee preview. It was a windy but dry day and hugely enjoyable as President of JRS, Andrew Appleby, led a guided tour round the outside of the house.

You can watch it here:

The society has ambitious plans for the Hall of Clestrain which includes establishing an invaluable reference library for anyone wishing to conduct further research about John Rae or related Arctic topics.

Find out more here: John Rae Society

Fiona Grahame

2 replies »

  1. Thank you for the guided tour Andrew, and for the film, Fiona – the very best way to be there, if you can’t be there – and that will include folk all over the world. Really, a most excellent thing to do.

    The boot print reminded me of all those other human marks which have been left, and then found, going right back to the very ancient footprints caught in mud or sometimes ash https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/the-oldest-human-footprints-in-europe.html

    https://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/behavior/footprints/laetoli-footprint-trails

    Through to hand or foot marks on ceramics and tiles….. https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/ness-fingerprint-analysis/

    And, even more recently, the shoe prints by structure 10 at this years’ dig at the Ness of Brodgar…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/07/19/small-is-beautiful-2/

    In ‘The Old Ways’, Robert MacFarlane writes …..

    “I imagine the Earth seen from an altitude so impossibly great that retrospect is possible as well as prospect, and that the prints of millennia of human walking are visible, the shimmering foil of our species.”

    Which reminded me of something Alan Garner writes in the first volume of his ‘Stonebook Quartet’ …………

    “They were footprints of people, bare and shod. There were boots and shoes and clogs, heels, toes, shallow ones and deep ones. Clear and sharp as if made altogether, trampling each other, hundreds pressed in the clay where only a dozen could stand. Mary was in a crowd that could never have been, thronging, as real as she was. Her feet made prints no fresher than theirs.”

    It’s one of the ways that we can connect with people of the past.
    This film provides a very human link to those at the Hall of Clestrain. Very good indeed.

    And – it shows that archaeology doesn’t have to be ancient.
    And – it got me thinking…………..Thank You!

  2. I’ve just remembered – Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the moon – which is very probably still there.

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